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Self employed: which expenses can you claim?

There are two ways to claim your self-employed expenses:

A. The easy way – use the trading allowance

Simply claim a flat £1,000 as a “self-employed trading allowance“:

  • it’s super easy to do
  • all sole traders qualify: construction workers, freelancers, etc.
  • you don’t need to worry about keeping receipts
  • the downside: if you choose this allowance, you won’t be able to claim anything else.

B. Or claim every single business expense

  • makes sense if your expenses are over £1,000 per year
  • you will not be able to claim the trading allowance anymore
  • the downside: you need to keep all your business receipts – although sometimes bank statements can work.
What expenses are eligible if I choose Option B?
Type of expense Can I claim it? How much can I claim?
Home rent Yes Either claim the percentage that you use your home for work, or a flat home office allowance
Office rent Yes 100%
Co-working space Yes 100%
Home insurance Yes Same as for home rent
Home utilities (electric bill, phone bill, etc.) Yes Same as for home rent
Home repairs Yes Same as for home rent
Office decorations Yes 100%
Home mortgage payments Not really Only a part of the interest on mortgage – similar to how you claim rent. You’re probably better off using the flat home office allowance
Laptop for work Yes 100%
Phone for work Yes 100%
Antivirus, Office software Yes 100%
Paper and pens for work Yes 100%
Printing Yes 100%
Protective gear for construction work Only if your contractor is not already providing you with it 100%
Special uniforms Only if your contractor is not already providing you with it 100%
Business suit No
Car insurance Yes Use the percentage that you use your car for work. Keep the invoice. Or just use the flat mileage allowance
Fuel Yes Use the percentage that you use your car for work. Keep the invoice. Or just use the flat mileage allowance
Parking fees Yes Use the percentage that you use your car for work. Keep the invoice. Or just use the flat mileage allowance
Taxi fares Yes Only trips for work – keep the receipts
Personal travel No
Parking fines No
Travel from home to regular workplace No
Hiring other people (subcontracting work) Yes 100%
Buying goods for resale (e.g. on eBay) Yes 100%
Buying raw goods for production (e.g. you’re making and selling hats on Etsy) Yes 100%
TaxScouts’ fee Yes 100%
Accountant fees Yes 100%
Bank, overdraft, and credit card fees Yes If you’re using cash basis then you can only claim up to £500. Otherwise 100%
Interest on loans Only if they are for work 100%
Leasing payments Only if they are for work 100%
Business insurance Only if it’s for work 100%
Bad customers Only if you’re using traditional accounting 100%
Advertising (newspapers, local Google Ads, etc.) Yes 100%
Website development, hosting, domain name, etc. Yes 100%
Meals with clients or suppliers Yes 100%
Drinks with clients or suppliers No

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